Lately there seems to be a new version of what I call “corporate speak.” Or perhaps it is just hip young professionals making their own language.
Even if you don’t often go to business meetings, you probably have an idea of the catch phrases and buzz words that currently circulate.
I remember the first time – years ago – that I heard someone “verb” the noun “partner.” “We are going to partner with the schools …” What?
Now it’s common for business to partner with education, for medicine to partner with nonprofits, and for nonprofits to partner with one another. I believe the old word for this sort of connection is “collaborate.” Before that, we said “work with” but that doesn’t have the zing that “partner” exudes.
But now, there’s a whole lot of partnering going on. That could be a good thing. Partnering apparently is the result of one entity “reaching out” to another.
I’ve been invited to “reach out” to this person and that, and I should “feel free” to do so.
That sounds like an old Diana Ross song. If I reach out and touch, maybe I can make this world a better place.
Did I say “touch”? I meant “touch base.” But honestly, I haven’t done that since my old softball days.
Those who reach out to me want to make sure I’ve been reached. So, they email me again, saying they want to “circle back” and ask me if I got their press releases or photos.
And these aren’t just Lowcountry people, where we are familiar with navigating in circles.
In a coffee shop line one morning last fall, I heard a young (early 30s) man and slightly younger woman discussing some sort of new venture, or perhaps a new partnership.
They appeared to be colleagues of some sort, perhaps from different offices of the same company. She had just told him about the new project, and he apparently didn’t understand.
He asked, “Can you unpack that for me?”
So maybe it’s a suitcase manufacturer that they work for.
Not long ago, a passionate young man in a new management position at a local assisted living residence told the audience he had 10 years’ experience in the senior care “space.” I doubt those seniors know they are in a space, because they believe they are paying for a home on terra firma.
Some young professionals apparently can switch easily from space to the ocean. Even when we’re not talking about aquatic research or fishing, I’m told we can “dive deep” to learn more about a topic. Some use the phrase “dig deep.” Sometimes I wonder exactly what it is we’re supposed to dive or dig into, though I am fairly certain it does indeed get deep.
As long as we’re in deep water, couldn’t we just use sonar – like the whales do? Well, of course we can! I’ll “ping” you and we can circle back.
If there are several of us who must unpack a topic and dive deep into it, we could chat together on a conference call – you can invite others to just “hop on that call.”
Or, we might “do a sit down” and discuss the matter. Alternately, you could shoot me an email. If I don’t respond right away, feel free to circle back.
If I still don’t reply, please understand that most of this new language just isn’t in my wheelhouse.